(HealthyAccess)- Believe it or not, the color of poop can tell a lot about a person’s health. Sometimes, poop colors are related to what someone has eaten or the medicines they’re taking, but the color could also indicate health problems. Poop comes in a variety of colors, and each color has a different meaning.
Want to find out what the color of poop really means? Read on
Congratulations, brown poop is normal poop! It may not be the prettiest color of the rainbow, but normal brown stool indicates healthy digestion. The brown color comes from a mix of foods eaten and bile that gets packed into the stool during digestion.
Sometimes, poop can be bright green or have a greenish hue to it. This isn’t uncommon, especially if someone has recently eaten green foods, like kale or green drinks. Iron supplements can also turn poop greenish. Green diarrhea, though, could mean that whatever someone ate moved through their digestive system too quickly. When that happens, bile doesn’t have a chance to turn brown before being compacted into waste.
Occasionally, poop looks yellow. In fact, yellow poop is not uncommon for babies who are breastfeeding. However, if an adult has yellowish poop that smells awful and looks greasy, this could be a sign that their body is having trouble properly digesting food.
Yellow poop could be an indicator of celiac disease, which occurs when the body can’t break down the protein gluten (found in bread, pasta, and baked goods made with wheat, barley, or rye). If you frequently have yellow, greasy stools, it may be time to call your doctor.
White, Pale, or Clay-Colored
It’s not unheard of for poop to have little to no color, especially for people who have recently taken medicines like Pepto-Bismol for tummy troubles or barium, a chalky liquid ingested before X-rays of the upper digestive tract. Pale poop isn’t related to diet, though. It’s likely either the result of certain medicines or an indication of a more serious issue.
The lack of color could be due to a low amount of bile in poop. Some liver diseases, such as hepatitis, reduce the amount of bile that goes into waste. Limited bile could also be due to digestive blockages, including gallstones, a tumor, or biliary atresia. White or pale poop could mean you have a serious health problem, so reach out to your doctor if you’ve ruled out medicine as the cause.
While baby poop may be black in the first few days after birth, adults with black stool may look to their diet or medicine as a reason for this discoloration. Black licorice, blueberries, iron supplements, and even Pepto-Bismol can lead to dark stool. However, black poop may also be a sign of a troubling health concern.
Bleeding in the upper digestive tract from stomach ulcers, open sores in the throat, and upper GI tumors can cause black, tar-like poop. If you have black stool and it’s not from something you’ve eaten, reach out to your doctor.
Try not to panic if poop looks red or pinkish. This could be related to eating beets, tomato soup, red drinks or gelatin. However, if these foods haven’t been eaten recently, there’s a good chance that the red is actually blood.
Bright red colored stool, in particular, may be related to bleeding in the lower digestive tract. Tumors, colitis, polyps, diverticular disease, or hemorrhoids can cause bleeding in the lower digestive tract. If red stool isn’t related to diet, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
Orange poop is usually a result of diet or medicine. There are a variety of foods that can turn poop orange, including orange squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, and orange-dyed foods like soda, candy, and gelatin. Also, medicines containing aluminum hydroxide (think antacids and antibiotics) can turn stool orange.
In rare cases, poop turns orange because of a liver problem that causes the body to produce small amounts of bile during digestion. Usually, though, liver problems result in clay- or light-colored stools.
Oftentimes, changes in poop color can be due to diet or medicine and it doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong. However, if the changing color of poop doesn’t seem to be linked to recent foods, it’s important to contact your doctor, especially if the poop is white, bright red, or black.
~Here’s to a Happier, Healthier Life!
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